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September Meeting

September 11 @ 7:15 pm - 9:00 pm

Rainsford Island: A Boston Harbor Case Study

William A. McEvoy, Jr.

Virtual presentation on Zoom

Meeting is for Members Only

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A short business meeting at 7:30 p.m., followed by our speaker, Bill McEvoy

Rainsford Island, one of the least known of Boston Harbor’s 34 islands, is officially closed to the public.  Bill McEvoy has documented the neglected graves of over 1,700 of the city’s unwanted, buried from Colonial times the beginning of the 20th century, many of them Irish immigrants.  These graves include more than 100 military veterans from the Civil War, including at least one from the 54th Massachusetts Regiment.  Opened as a quarantine station established to inspect ships arriving from foreign ports, the island was later home to a smallpox hospital, city and state facilities for immigrants, violent criminals, drunkards, unwed mothers, the insane and delinquent boys.

Bill McEvoy is a US Army Veteran.  He retired as a Massachusetts District Court Magistrate in 2009.  He volunteers with the No Veteran Dies Alone program at the Bedford Veterans Hospital, and serves as a pro bono Magistrate, one day a week.  In addition to his work on Rainsford Island, Bill has completed a study on the more than 23,000 people, primarily Irish immigrants or their first generation descendants buried at Catholic Mount Auburn Cemetery in Watertown.  Bill’s latest project will measure the positive impact of Boston’s men and women whose philanthropic efforts were directed at tenement reforms during the last half of the nineteenth century.  Alice North Towne Lincoln, who is prominent in his Rainsford Island book, and her husband Roland were very active in that movement.  In addition to the rehabilitation of properties, the reformers attempted to change the lives of their tenants by setting boundaries of behavior, providing encouragement and life skills, as well as closely overseeing the operation of the properties.

This program will be recorded and posted in the member section of our website, along with pdf copies of Bill’s books, Catholic Mount Auburn Cemetery, Rainsford Island: A Boston Harbor Case Study in Public Neglect and Private Activism and Alice North Towne Lincoln: Boston’s Selfless Advocate for the Poor.


September 11
7:15 pm - 9:00 pm